Scary but Super! - TLC Laser Eye Centers - London, Ontario, Canada

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I had LASIK done a bit over a month ago at TLC...

I had LASIK done a bit over a month ago at TLC Laser Eye Centers in London, Ontario, Canada. I am 21 years old and have worn glasses since I was in grade five, and contacts for eight months. I enjoyed contacts and had no problems with wearing them but once I had the taste of freedom from glasses, I knew I wanted more and laser eye surgery was a dream of mine. The price was what was really holding me back about it but I decided that considering my age, I would have a lot of years of freedom from contacts/glasses (you may need reading glasses in your 40's or 50's) and I will never have as much disposable income as I do right now. So I decided to go ahead with finding out if I was a candidate from my optometrist. I couldn't wear contacts for I believe two weeks before my eye appointment, so that the shape of my eyes could return to normal. He conducted the eye examination and sent the results to TLC Laser Eye Centers. He told me that he believed I would be a really good candidate, unless TLC found something abnormal in the shape of my eyes during their exam. I couldn't wear contacts for a certain amount of time before the TLC examination as well. The next step was to have a consultation at TLC where they completed an exam and gave me the results - which was yes. These appointments happened in January 2014. You could do the consultation and have the surgery as soon as a week after, but I knew I wanted it at the end of April 2014 (no plans for a while after so it was a good time to have surgery) - the examinations I had done by my optometrist and TLC were good for six months.

At least a week before my surgery (I had it a month before I think but it needs to be done a week before) I had to go to my optometrist for a pre-op appointment (where he took more measurements etc. to pass on to TLC). TLC is a partner with my optometrist's office and I was able to have all of my pre and post appointments there rather than at TLC, which was nice since London is an hour away from where I live. A week before my surgery I had to begin taking anti-infection eye drops four times a day.

I chose to have my surgery on a Thursday so that I only needed to take Thursday and Friday off work and I could be back to work on Monday. My appointment was for 10:00 a.m. I believe and I was taken in right away, however I had to wait for an hour (give or take - no way to check the time) in a separate waiting room before meeting with the surgeon briefly to go over what to expect, and then back to the waiting room, where I was with two other people about to get the surgery done as well. We were told to expect to be at TLC for three or four hours so most of that is wait time where you try not to freak out. :) We were all taken back to a different room then with a semi-circle of recliner chairs, where we put on surgical booties over our shoes and hair nets (just a tip for the girls, wear your hair down because they make you take your ponytail/bun out because your head won't be laying flat if you have your hair done that way) and the nurse went over things such as the drop routine for after surgery and gave us a handy chart to keep track. She then went around putting drops in our eyes - the anti-infection drops first and then right before you were to go in - the numbing drops for the surgery.

I was the first one of the group to go in for my surgery. I believe the whole procedure took about 15-20 minutes, though I wasn't keeping track. I won't get into the nitty gritty details of the procedure itself because it will more than likely gross you out and scare you off of it - but I am a huge baby when it comes to this sort of stuff and have a very weak stomach, and I survived! Though it was scary for the few minutes I was enduring it, they kindly provide a squeeze ball (in the shape of an eye) for you to squeeze during the procedure. It didn't hurt while it was happening because my eyes were numbed, but I could feel pressure of them being on my eye at some points and I can't say I enjoyed that. Afterwards it stung as though a whole bottle of shampoo was dumped in my eyes and I felt like I might faint in the lobby on my way out the door, so they took me back to a room and gave me more numbing eye drops so I could make it out to the car. I kept my eyes closed the whole ride home (even eating McDonalds with my eyes closed, which might not have been a great idea haha) and I think I slept a bit. When I got home I put my eye drops in (anti-infection and steroid) and went to sleep for a few hours (with plastic covers provided by TLC taped over my eyes so I didn't accidentally rub them). When I woke up I wore the wrap-around tinted safety glasses provided by TLC so that I didn't accidentally rub my eyes or get anything in them. I did not have light sensitivity except for when I first got home. I could see fine right away, it's just a little foggy/blurry. I had to put in the two different drops, plus artificial tears in my eyes every hour for the first 48 hours after my surgery (then it went down to four times a day). I had a follow-up appointment at my optometrist's office first thing in the morning on Friday and I wore my safety glasses inside and out for the whole weekend until my follow-up appointment on Monday, when I was told it was alright to take them off, at least inside. The official time recommended to wear them is one week.

I had major blood spots in my eyes so I looked pretty creepy for a while - the last trace of the blood was gone after four weeks but it was significantly better after two I would say. So don't schedule your surgery before an event where you will have your picture taken. :)

The plastic covers to tape over your eyes at night were actually comfy to sleep in. I slept with those a couple weeks though I only needed to for a week. The only downside to taping yourself in to those is that I would wake up in the middle of the night with stinging eyes (resolved by the artificial tears) so I had to rip all the tape off at 3:00 a.m. to do so, and then tape myself back in.

The only minor problems encountered were waking up with stinging eyes in the middle of the night (but that was easily resolved by drops) and I had some very minor swelling under my eyes from a reaction to the steroid drops (and that went away within a day and is so rare my optometrist had never seen it).

I was really scared of the risks, the procedure and the cost but I have to say that it has worked out wonderfully. I can thankfully say that I experienced no light sensitivity issues, no dry eye issues (with the exception of the stinging in the night for the first few nights) and just minimal halos around lights at night (which only lasted a couple weeks). I have 20/20 vision and it's crazy to think that just a couple months ago I wore glasses and contacts, and now I don't! I hope this review is helpful to you in making your decision!
Dr. Bruce Nichols

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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